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sudo (35) Versions 2.1.0

Installs sudo and configures /etc/sudoers

cookbook 'sudo', '= 2.1.0'
cookbook 'sudo', '= 2.1.0', :supermarket
knife cookbook site install sudo
knife cookbook site download sudo

Chef sudo cookbook

The Chef sudo cookbook installs the sudo package and configures the /etc/sudoers file.

It also exposes an LWRP for adding and managing sudoers.


The platform has a package named sudo and the sudoers file is /etc/sudoers.


  • node['authorization']['sudo']['groups'] - groups to enable sudo access (default: [])
  • node['authorization']['sudo']['users'] - users to enable sudo access (default: [])
  • node['authorization']['sudo']['passwordless'] - use passwordless sudo (default: false)
  • node['authorization']['sudo']['include_sudoers_d'] - include and manager /etc/sudoers.d (default: false)
  • node['authorization']['sudo']['agent_forwarding'] - preserve SSH_AUTH_SOCK when sudoing (default: false)
  • node['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] - Array of Defaults entries to configure in /etc/sudoers



To use attributes for defining sudoers, set the attributes above on the node (or role) itself:

  "default_attributes": {
    "authorization": {
      "sudo": {
        "groups": ["admin", "wheel", "sysadmin"],
        "users": ["jerry", "greg"],
        "passwordless": "true"
# roles/example.rb
  "authorization" => {
    "sudo" => {
      "groups" => ["admin", "wheel", "sysadmin"],
      "users" => ["jerry", "greg"],
      "passwordless" => true

Note that the template for the sudoers file has the group "sysadmin" with ALL:ALL permission, though the group by default does not exist.

Sudoers Defaults

Configure a node attribute, node['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] as an array of Defaults entries to configure in /etc/sudoers. A list of examples for common platforms is listed below:

Debian ruby node.default['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] = ['env_reset']

Ubuntu 10.04 ruby node.default['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] = ['env_reset']

Ubuntu 12.04 ruby node.default['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] = [ 'env_reset', 'secure_path="/usr/local/sbin:/usr/local/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin:/sbin:/bin"' ]

RHEL family 5.x The version of sudo in RHEL 5 may not support +=, as used in env_keep, so its a single string.

node.default['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] = [
               _XKB_CHARSET XAUTHORITY"'

RHEL family 6.x ruby node.default['authorization']['sudo']['sudoers_defaults'] = [ '!visiblepw', 'env_reset', 'env_keep = "COLORS DISPLAY HOSTNAME HISTSIZE INPUTRC KDEDIR LS_COLORS"', 'env_keep += "MAIL PS1 PS2 QTDIR USERNAME LANG LC_ADDRESS LC_CTYPE"', 'env_keep += "LC_COLLATE LC_IDENTIFICATION LC_MEASUREMENT LC_MESSAGES"', 'env_keep += "LC_MONETARY LC_NAME LC_NUMERIC LC_PAPER LC_TELEPHONE"', 'env_keep += "LC_TIME LC_ALL LANGUAGE LINGUAS _XKB_CHARSET XAUTHORITY"', 'env_keep += "HOME"', 'always_set_home', 'secure_path = /sbin:/bin:/usr/sbin:/usr/bin' ]


Note Sudo version 1.7.2 or newer is required to use the sudo LWRP as it relies on the "#includedir" directive introduced in version 1.7.2. The recipe does not enforce installing the version. To use this LWRP, set node['authorization']['sudo']['include_sudoers_d'] to true.

There are two ways for rendering a sudoer-fragment using this LWRP:

  1. Using the built-in template
  2. Using a custom, cookbook-level template

Both methods will create the /etc/sudoers.d/#{username} file with the correct permissions.

The LWRP also performs fragment validation. If a sudoer-fragment is not valid, the Chef run will throw an exception and fail. This ensures that your sudoers file is always valid and cannot become corrupt (from this cookbook).

Example using the built-in template:

sudo 'tomcat' do
  user      "%tomcat"    # or a username
  runas     'app_user'   # or 'app_user:tomcat'
  commands  ['/etc/init.d/tomcat restart']
sudo 'tomcat'
  template    'my_tomcat.erb' # local cookbook template
  variables   :cmds => ['/etc/init.d/tomcat restart']

In either case, the following file would be generated in /etc/sudoers.d/tomcat

# This file is managed by Chef for
# Do NOT modify this file directly.

%tomcat ALL=(app_user) /etc/init.d/tomcat restart
LWRP Attributes

<table> <thead> <tr> <th>Attribute</th> <th>Description</th> <th>Example</th> <th>Default</th> </tr> </thead>

<tbody> <tr> <td>name</td> <td>name of the /etc/sudoers.d file</td> <td><tt>restart-tomcat</tt></td> <td>current resource name</td> </tr> <tr> <td>user</td> <td>user to provide sudo privileges to</td> <td><tt>tomcat</tt></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>group</td> <td>group to provide sudo privileges to, except % is prepended to the name in case it is not already</td> <td><tt>%admin</tt></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>commands</td> <td>array of commands this sudoer can execute</td> <td><tt>['/etc/init.d/tomcat restart']</tt></td> <td><tt>['ALL']</tt></td> </tr> <tr> <td>nopasswd</td> <td>supply a password to invoke sudo</td> <td><tt>true</tt></td> <td><tt>false</tt></td> </tr> <tr> <td>template</td> <td>the erb template to render instead of the default</td> <td><tt>restart-tomcat.erb</tt></td> <td></td> </tr> <tr> <td>variables</td> <td>the variables to pass to the custom template</td> <td><tt>:commands => ['/etc/init.d/tomcat restart']</tt></td> <td></td> </tr> </tbody> </table>

If you use the template attribute, all other attributes will be ignored except for the variables attribute.

License and Authors

Copyright 2009-2012, Opscode, Inc.

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.

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This cookbook has no specified dependencies.

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